LONGING OR THE DOGS OF LOVE: When we enter the silence of meditation many things surface from the depths. One such depth-dweller is the presence of longing, the experience of our deepest desires which often we cannot articulate but we know are present in powerful ways. This is the stuff that breaks the heart. Sometimes we attempt to express this longing in terms of our desire for love, meaning, happiness or power. Whatever name we apply, it somehow seems to fall short of the reality we experience. Sometimes, naively, we even try to place our deepest longing on a person or thing, a career, our dream house, a community....But sooner or later we return to this ache of the heart that refuses to leave the room. The Welsh have a word -'Hiraeth', pronounced hee-reyeth. It doesn't translate well into English. It is a particular kind of yearning or homesickness that longs for the land that once was or that never was. A beautiful, painful place in the landscape of the human heart, not unlike Augustine's restless heart. I wonder... might this longing be that good guide and even more... that can lead us further along the Path to that Place we call Home? The poet Rumi has a lovely little poem called " Love Dogs". Here is my own paraphrase based on Coleman Barks translation::
" In the night, a voice cries out
' Oh God, Allah, Oh Love'
Lips grow sweet with the sound of praise-
'Oh God, Allah, Oh Love'
And then... a cynic shows up and says:
'So, I have heard you calling out.
Tell me, have you ever gotten any response?'
Silence. The one who praised stopped praying altogether
and fell into a confused sleep.
Dreams came...
Dreams of Khidr, guide of souls.
Khidr, sitting in a lush green forest asking the question:
" Why have you stopped praising?"
The answer? 'Because I have never heard anything in response.'
" Ah," said Khidr. " Do you not understand?
The Longing you express IS the return message.
The grief you cry out from draws you
closer and closer into Union.
And your pure sorrow desiring help...
your pure sorrow, this is the Secret Cup.
Listen to the moaning of a dog for its Master.
That whining is the connection.
There are Love Dogs no one knows the names of
Give your life to be one of them."

" Out of the Depths I cry to You..." -Psalm 130:1

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